“Can you help me make a hotel reservation?” said I to the tech guru in the family.
“Just call to the hotel directly,” was the prompt given.
The still small voice within me knew better, but the directive made sense, so I did.
Upon the computer I sought the number. There it was, all big and bold calling my name to call it.
The price quoted was out of our range and as I grumbled aloud, the gal upon the phone reassured me she could find another hotel that was cheaper. Friendly people, I thought. How nice of her to make a reservation for me at a different hotel than the one she’s working at.
We arrived at our destination, and I was happy. I was happy until as happenstance would have it, our vehicle had a few screws loose, and we needed to spend an extra night.
One need not be schooled in mechanics to know holding ball bearings in the palm of one’s hand calls for an extra night’s stay when it’s a weekend. As luck would have it, our cheaper hotel was mere blocks away from the fix-it shop, and once again, we were happy.
I made my way to the front desk to secure the extra night’s stay, when out of my mouth tumbled our dilemma. No detail was too small to leave out, and I did all but bring the ball bearings for show-and-tell.
In silence she listened. Once I finished, she told me we could keep our room for one more night.
“How much will it be?” I asked. I was certain the price would be higher and I was ready!
“For two nights it is showing it will be $179.”
Only hearing the higher number, I began my arguments. “We paid $132 for the first night and I insist we get it for the same price!”
She stared at me with a blank expression as I rambled on.
Soon, she gently interrupted me. “Excuse me, but perhaps we’d better take a look and see what happened here. It looks like you went through a third party when you initially booked this hotel. You see, our normal rates are only $89 per night. It looks like you paid well over what we charge, but I can give you our normal rates for the extra night.”
Now, it was I who stood with blank expression upon my face. Not only had I presupposed they were going to take advantage of our situation, but now realized I had already been taken advantage of by a third party booking agency!
The clerk before me chose to do the right thing even after I had insisted on paying for the second night at a much higher rate than normal. She was honest.
She was living out James 3:17. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
Her mercy given was not only much needed at the moment, but it was deeply felt. For all of her grace extended, I was and still am most grateful. Amen.
Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB
This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.